The Marine Corps prides itself on being the toughest, most selective branch of all the Armed Forces of the United States. Finding volunteers who not only wish to become Marines but also have the mental, physical, and emotional capabilities to meet and exceed the Corps’ high standards makes recruiting duty one of the most demanding assignments in the Corps.
Some Marines volunteer to serve as Recruiters, but the majority are selected because they have the requisite skill set and personality and have a proven track record at meeting goals placed before them. After completing seven-and-a-half weeks of training at Marine Corps Recruiters School in San Diego, they typically are assigned a billet at one of the Corps Recruiting Stations (there are 48, eight for each of the six recruiting districts in the Continental U.S.) or at one of the nearly 550 Recruiting Sub-Stations (these are in all 50 states and the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam).
The very things that make the Marine Corps special—its demanding training and rigorous standards—can also make it a tough sell for those seeking a military career. According to the Corps itself, a Recruiter will drive more than 1200 miles, place 1000 phone calls, hold 15 interviews, and help process six new enlistees at a Military Entrance Processing Command just to get three recruits signed up per month. That adds up to more than 320 hours of work per month—an average of over ten-and-a-half hours per day, every day. Given all this, it’s somewhat stunning that it took until 1995 for someone to come up with the idea of a decoration to recognize the effort put in by these Marines to ensure the continued success of the Corps in finding only the very best to fill its ranks.
To be eligible for the ribbon, Marines with an MOS of 8411 or 8412 (Career Recruiter) must successfully complete the thirty-six-month tour of duty at a recruiting billet; Marines who choose to extend beyond the basic tour will be eligible for the ribbon upon completion of the extension period. Those passionate about recruiting and who decide to pursue the 8412 MOS receive the ribbon upon assignment as a Career Recruiter.
Personnel who for reasons beyond their control are transferred out of the 8411 billet before completing a full tour can still receive the ribbon if they completed thirty months of duty. Marines who find themselves being transferred out of Recruiting Duty before reaching the thirty-month threshold can send a waiver request to the Commanding General of the Recruit Depot/Marine Corps Recruiting Region asking for relief.